South Africa is a vibrant, colourful, energetic, diverse and beautiful country that is filled with multiple cultures and traditions. On the 24th of September, all South Africans celebrate Heritage Day. It is a day in which all are encouraged to celebrate their cultural traditions in the wider context of the great diversity of cultures, beliefs, and traditions that make up the nation of South Africa. The rainbow nation is the only country in the world that has 11 national languages and this makes our beautiful country one of significance and we chose to embrace and celebrate our differences.
The 24th of September is a public holiday and we recommend celebrating this diversity with a special event with your work colleagues or friends and family, leading up to or on the day. The best way to celebrate Heritage Day is to celebrate all the attendants culture and beliefs, by incorporating everyone together as we have done in our rainbow nation. Invite your fellow colleagues and family to your event and ask them to wear their traditional outfit that showcases their background, be it a sari, a shwe-shwe dress, lots of symbolic beads, religious attire etc. By dressing in traditional outfits your event is off to a great start by celebrating a variety of cultures amongst your guests.
Every tradition and culture has a unique and beautiful way of hosting an event showcasing their traditions and values. A great way is to incorporate all facets of the different cultures in the event allowing all your guests to be celebrated. For example a Jewish celebration includes a large amount of celebrating through dancing. Jewish events also have strict food rituals to follow through blessings of the food such as the separation of meat and dairy on the menu. Jewish celebrations include Barmitzvahs (the celebration of adolescences entering adulthood), Hanukkah (commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem) and Pass Over ( commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses) to name a few.
Hindu celebrations are a feast of colour with guests wearing beautiful ornate and beaded sari’s/outfits with beautiful henna patterns painted onto their skin. Hindu celebrations include the celebration of Diwali (festival of lights), Holi (Holi is the Hindu festival of colours. It marks the beginning of spring and all that spring symbolizes.) and Krishna Janmashtami – A two day festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, to name a few. Celebrate the Hindu culture with traditional curries and bright colours.
The Ndebele culture are renowned for their beautiful colourful outfits that are adorned with colourful beads. Each pattern has a specific meaning and you can send a message to a secret admirer through your beaded accessory. The Zulu culture embrace their heritage wearing animal hides and carrying spears. The Xhosa culture wear beautiful blankets and are known to paint their faces white.
Traditionally each culture has different ways of celebrating together including different outfits (discussed above) and foods that are eaten at these special events, for example the Zulu culture enjoy eating red meat and vegetables with mielie meal (a course maize flour cooked into stiff/runny porridge.) and umqomboti (a traditional beer). The Indian culture celebrate with a variety of spicy curries and rice with poppadoms. The Afrikaans culture enjoy meat cooked on an open flame (braai) with sweet treats such as Milk Tart and koeksisters (deep fried pastry covered in syrup). As you can see South Africa is abundantly blessed with a rich diversity.
The best way to celebrate heritage day is to celebrate all together embracing our differences. Why not use traditional South African colours such as red, green, yellow, green, blue and black. Use South African decor items such as Protea and Fynbos flowers or succulents such as desert roses and aloes as floral elements to your decor. Beads are a large part of South Africa so place a few beaded sculptures here or there or use beaded bracelets as napkin rings. South Africa is also all about colour and vibrancy so celebrate this beautiful country.
Another great way to celebrate our diverse country is to use the colour scheme green and gold. The national sports team use this colour scheme on their national outfits and kits. Green and gold combined with the Protea and Springbok symbol proudly represent our nation all over the world, thus using this colour scheme will proudly showcase your event as Proudly South African.
The 24th of September is also colloquially known as Braai day. A traditional South African Braai is known elsewhere as a barbeque. A braai is so much more than the cooking method of cooking food over open flames, it symbolises the community feeling of gathering around the cooking area and chatting while enjoying cooking together as well as gathering together to enjoy the feast as a community and family . We wish all our clients a happy Heritage Day this September as we celebrate this rich nation we call home.